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General Insurance Newsletter Thursday 19th January 2023

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Insurance News

Sompo International has flagged the importance of getting closer to brokers as it revealed the opening of an office in Birmingham, its first in the UK outside of London. The office, located in the city’s Colmore Business District, will be led by Matt Cullen, Vice President of Retail Property and Kevin Green, Vice President of Retail Casualty. (Emmanuel Kenning, 18/1/2023, Insurance Age, 'Sompo International expands outside London with Birmingham office')

Increasing weather-related claims and soaring rebuild costs will damage the profitability of UK Property insurers this year, according to analytics company Globaldata. The specialists noted that Retail Property claims in the third quarter of last year had already reached £702m after rising by 33%. (Sophie Locke-Cooper, 17/1/2023, Insurance Age, 'Analysts warn of further hit to UK property insurance market in 2023')

Norwich-headquartered One Broker has targeted pushing Ebitda above £4m within two years through sustained organic growth and acquisitions, CEO Robin Plaster revealed. The Top 75 UK broker delivered £2.73m of Ebitda in its most recent set of results for the year ended 31 May 2022. This was up 26.9% on the previous year. The figure was all achieved organically. Since the end of the financial year it has gone on to make its first buy in four years snapping up Uttings Insurance Brokers in Norfolk last November.(Emmanuel Kenning, 17/1/2023, Insurance Age, 'One Broker targeting £4m Ebitda')

Aviva has extended its Renewable Energy insurance offering into the offshore wind market. The provider confirmed it has already insured its first risk in the North Sea. Aviva is offering construction all-risks and operational risks cover in offshore wind as a follow market, focusing on large renewable energy clients and projects in the UK, US and Europe, working with experienced brokers and following recognised leaders. (Emmanuel Kenning, 16/1/2023, Insurance Age, 'Aviva enters offshore wind insurance market')

Some 45% more women were hired into senior roles at Zurich UK between January and November 2022, compared to the same period in 2019, the insurer has revealed. The rise, from 62 to 90 people across the comparable periods, sat alongside figures for the full year of 2022 when 17% more women were hired into senior roles than in 2021. The findings come against the backdrop of Insurance Age’s exclusive research last month underlining the stark nature of broking’s gender diversity gap in leadership. (Emmanuel Kenning, 16/1/2023, Insurance Age, 'Zurich reports double digit boost in female senior hires')

Alternative investment manager Castlelake has created Itasca Re Limited, a reinsurer that will offer insurance financing solutions to commercial aircraft assets owners and buyers. According to Castlelake, which specialises in asset-backed private credit, Itasca Re was set up to transfer the non-payment risk traditionally held by financiers to third parties through insurance. Licensed in British overseas territory Bermuda, the new company reinsures Starr Insurance Companies, which issues the policy. (Terry Gangcuangco, 18/1/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'New aviation reinsurer arrives')

Global reinsurance provider Munich Re has announced that it has selected Verisk’s global risk analytics business, Verisk Maplecroft, to help it enhance human rights due diligence across its business. Verisk Maplecroft’s Human Rights Indices identify exposure to 31 civil, political and labour rights risks at national and subnational levels in 198 countries. This will allow Munich Re to enhance its ability to make global operational risk assessments, as well as factor that data into its underwriting and investment decisions.(Ryan Smith, 18/1/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Munich Re announces partnership to bolster human rights due diligence')

Parametric flood insurance company FloodFlash has announced that it has entered the US insurance market. The UK-based company said it is the first insurance provider to pay Catastrophic Flood claims in as little as four hours. In the wake of a devastating hurricane season in the US, policyholders have had to wait weeks or months for their claims to be paid, FloodFlash said. Additionally, many traditional insurers have been hesitant to renew coverage following the devastation of hurricanes Ian and Nicole, contributing to the nation’s $58 billion flood insurance gap – the largest in the world.(Ryan Smith, 18/1/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'UK-based insurer FloodFlash to launch in US')

Insurance giant Aviva, which has been supporting The BIBA Conference for more than two and a half decades, will serve as the principal sponsor of the 2023 edition of the highly regarded insurance event. “We are delighted to have Aviva onboard as our principal sponsor again this year; their continued support of the conference is invaluable to us,” said BIBA (British Insurance Brokers’ Association) Head of Conference Emma Chapman. Other insurance companies backing the two-day gathering in Manchester include Ardonagh, AXA, Ecclesiastical, ERS, Markel UK, and Markerstudy. (Terry Gangcuangco, 18/1/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'BIBA reveals conference sponsors for 2023')

A Home insurance policy has been launched to remove the ‘premium poverty’, which puts the cost of insurance beyond the reach of some of the nation. The policy (SAGIC Core Home), which was developed by specialist broker ECH Facilities Ltd and is underwritten by SAGIC (Salvation Army General Insurance Corporation Ltd), provides £30K of contents cover and £10K alternative accommodation cover for just £4 per month. (Salvation Army General Insurance Corporation Ltd and ECH Facilities Ltd, 17/1/2023, youTalk Insurance, 'Salvation Army and ECH launch new home cover to close the insurance premium poverty gap')

Having hit £200m gross written premium years ahead of schedule, JMG Group is targeting doubling over the next three years, CEO Nick Houghton revealed. “We are still a pretty young team and early in our journey,” he commented. “There is a lot of opportunity out there. We would like to double over the next three years.” Houghton and colleagues completed a management buyout of Yorkshire-headquartered JM Glendinning in 2020 backed by growth investor Synova.(Emmanuel Kenning, 18/1/2023, Insurance Age, 'JMG targets doubling in three years')

Nearly 50 law firms have had to close in just over a year as soaring Professional Indemnity costs bite hard, according to a legal adviser. In the last three months nine law firms have closed. In the preceding 12 months, another 37 closed, according to accountant and legal business adviser Hazlewoods. Hazlewoods calculated that on average PI cost is equivalent to 5% of a law firm’s turnover. For conveyancing law firms, this can be as high as 20%. The firm believes the rise in premiums is made worse by insurers exiting the market or reducing capacity.(Saxon East, 18/1/2023, Insurance Age, 'Dozens of law firms caught in ‘very difficult’ PI market have closed')

AI insurtech Concirrus has launched the latest version of its Marine Hull market model, its most sophisticated Marine insurance risk model to date, it claims. The new Marine Hull market model ingests nearly three trillion data points and processes over 100,000 historical policies and associated claims. (Roxanne Libatique, 19/1/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Concirrus launches updated marine hull market model')

MGA Arcadian Risk Capital has entered a direct and facultative (D&F) property binding arrangement with Aviva Insurance UK. According to Arcadian, the multi-year agreement will enhance the MGA’s short tail book of technically engineered, risk management business, written either as direct insurance or facultative reinsurance placement. The account is underwritten from Arcadian’s London desk, headed by Barry Marren. The target portfolio will be Worldwide Industrial and Commercial Property, mostly written on an excess-of-loss basis with a strong international bias. The D&F agreement, arranged by Inver Re, is designed to cover risks with Aviva’s worldwide underwriter licences and permitted non-admitted status.(Gabriel Olano, 19/1/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Aviva, Arcadian Risk Capital enter D&F arrangement')

The Net-Zero Insurance Alliance (NZIA) has released its first Target-Setting Protocol at the World Economic Forum, accelerating the transition to a global net-zero economy. Launched at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, version 1.0 of the NZIA Target-Setting Protocol will enable NZIA members to independently set science-based, intermediate targets for their insurance and reinsurance underwriting portfolios, aligned with a net-zero transition pathway consistent with a maximum temperature rise of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels by 2100. It requires the members to set and disclose their initial targets by July 31, 2023. (Roxanne Libatique, 18/1/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Net-Zero Insurance Alliance launches target-setting protocol')

Mergers & Acquisitions

Acrisure has bought Glasgow-based Affinity Brokers in its 11th deal within the UK market. Founded in 2010 by Scott Meechan and Yvonne McKnight, the broker has specialisms in jewellery and jewellers block. The business is divided into two offerings: a commercial and corporate broker; and a technology-enabled affinity offering for point-of-sale and embedded insurance products across a variety of sectors. (Sophie Locke-Cooper, 18/1/2023, Insurance Age, 'Acrisure snaps up Affinity Brokers in Scotland')

BMS, the independent specialist insurance and reinsurance broker, has announced the acquisition of Austbrokers Coast to Coast (C2C), the specialist Australian Corporate, Business, and Retail broker, effective 17 January 2023. The terms of the transaction have not been disclosed. Based in Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast in Queensland, C2C was founded in 1982 and specialises in Transport, Construction, Hazardous Goods, and SME Retail. (BMS, 17/1/2023, youTalk Insurance, 'BMS acquires Australian specialist insurance broker Austbrokers Coast to Coast')

Movers & Shakers

Ageas UK has made two executive team appointments, with Rashmi Rao as Chief Information Officer, and Stephen Linklater as Claims Director. Rao, joins Ageas following a career spanning more than 25 years in technology, digital transformation, IT and business strategy across countries and regulated industries including insurance, banking, healthcare and consulting. Linklater joined Ageas in 2008 as Head of Household Underwriting, and has held various senior pricing and underwriting roles across both the broker and direct channels. (Sophie Locke-Cooper, 18/1/2023, Insurance Age, 'Ageas makes significant changes to its UK executive team')

Ben Crabtree has been appointed Managing Director of AssuredPartners London. Crabtree joined AssuredPartners London in December 2019 to establish its M&A insurance division. Beginning his career over two decades ago at Aon initially specialising in Professional Indemnity insurance, Crabtree moved into M&A insurance in 2003 and ultimately led Aon London’s Transaction Liability and D&O teams. Moving to JLT he established the broker’s Australia’s M&A insurance offering before returning to lead the London M&A practice. (Insurance Age Reporter, 17/1/2023, Insurance Age, 'AssuredPartners appoints Ben Crabtree as London MD')

Allianz Commercial has appointed former Head of Claims Operations, Graham Stait, as Regional Manager for the Midlands and South West commercial regions. He joined Allianz in 2008 and has held a variety of leadership roles across the organisation, including Head of Supply & Experts and Claims Proposition and Change Manager. (Sophie Locke-Cooper, 17/1/2023, Insurance Age, 'Allianz appoints Graham Stait as Midlands and South West regional manager')

In further news...Allianz Commercial has merged its claims operations division and its supply and experts team, with Eibhlin Swan promoted to the newly created role of Head of Claims Customer Delivery. Previously Head of Supply and Experts, Swan was responsible for overseeing Supplier Services, Claims Investigators and Motor Engineers. (Gabriel Olano, 19/1/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Allianz Commercial creates head of claims customer delivery role')

The Society of Insurance Broking, a part of the Chartered Insurance Institute, has appointed Laura Hancock as Chair, effective this month. She has replaced Kevin Hancock, Managing Director of Yutree, who finished his role in December. Chair appointments are made every two years. Laura Hancock has been the Director of the independent underwriting agency, Yutree, since 2012. (Sophie Locke-Cooper, 17/1/2023, Insurance Age, 'The Society of Insurance Broking names Yutree director Laura Hancock as chair')

Ardonagh is planning to bring Enda Kenny, former Taoiseach in the Republic of Ireland from 2011 to 2017, into the company, a spokesperson has confirmed. The addition of a former political leader of a country will mark a high-profile development for Ardonagh which has made no secret of its international expansion plans and focus beyond the UK. (Emmanuel Kenning, 16/1/2023, Insurance Age, 'Former Taoiseach Enda Kenny poised to join new Ardonagh International board')

Quote Me Today has promoted its Chief Insurance Officer Andy Seagar to become CEO, replacing Founder Andrew Jackson who takes up the role of Chairman. Seagar, joined the business as a Trainee Broker in 2006, becoming a Partner in 2011 and Director/Co-Owner in 2015. (Insurance Age Reporter, 16/1/2023, Insurance Age, 'Quote Me Today promotes Seagar to CEO')

Miller has announced the appointment of Claire Connolly as Head of M&A (16 January 2023), to support the firm’s continued growth ambitions. Claire brings with her significant experience in M&A, corporate development, and finance in the insurance industry, having held various senior M&A roles including at Jensten Group, Aston Lark and Gallagher where she managed the execution of M&A transactions in multiple regions and supported the development of M&A strategy. (Miller, 16/1/2023, youTalk Insurance, 'Miller hires Claire Connolly as Head of M&A')

Marsh has named Robert Perry as UK CEO, Credit Specialties, Marsh Specialty. Perry was appointed Global Political Risk & Structured Credit Leader in July 2022. He was previously Asia Credit Specialties Leader, a role he held from 2019. Perry has over 30 years of experience in the Political Risk and Structured Credit insurance market, having worked in the UK, the US, and Asia. Prior to joining Marsh, Perry was with Willis Towers Watson for 20 years. (Lyle Adriano, 19/1/2023, Insurance Business UK, 'Marsh announces a new UK CEO of credit specialties')

All information provided in this Market Digest has been gathered from Insurance Age, Insurance Business UK and youTalk insurance.